The Wash: Marc Burch video suggests suspension ahead

The Wash: Marc Burch video suggests suspension ahead

The Wash is David Falk’s take on the world of soccer in The WA.

The day after Seattle Sounders FC finally won a playoff series after three years of frustration should have been followed this morning with nothing but talk of soccer, of joy, of Mario Martinez and his wonder goal that capped a huge win.

UPDATE: Burch issues apology

Enter a video of Sounders defender Marc Burch, apparently using a gay slur live on NBC’s national tv cameras (video below uploaded by an MLS viewer).

The moment was caught right away by one of Major League Soccer’s most prolific beat writers, Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, who tweeted:

And then this morning:

Colin Clark was the Houston Dynamo  player who yelled “F*cking F*ggot” at a ball boy at CenturyLink Field earlier this season. The moment went national and even international and eventually Clark was suspended for three matches.

Along with Wahl, SB Nation and activist / entertainment site have weighed in on Burch’s moment.

Mere weeks ago MLS was among the leagues to “go purple” in support of combating bullying of all kinds, include homophobic bullying.

Can we be sure this is in fact what Burch said? If so, what will MLS, the Sounders and Burch do in response? What should they do?

These things sort of have a momentum and life of their own since the dawn of the power of social media. Right now the story has yet to explode nationally. It likely will.

Hopefully by then Burch will have explained himself, apologized no matter the case, and the Sounders will have reaffirmed their position as inclusive and not tolerant of abusive language of any kind.

Then Major League Soccer can move in, and suspend Burch for the Western Conference Finals.

It has been such a breakthrough week in the state of Washington, politically, socially, and even for our Sounders.

We can’t go backwards so soon.


16 thoughts on “The Wash: Marc Burch video suggests suspension ahead

  1. It’s the media that blows this up out of control. Not many people would have noticed years ago but now everybody has to weigh in. Players talk smack to one another all the time. Who cares.

      1. If he said “Mother F*******” do you actually think he meant that he believes the other player is having intercourse with his Mommy…come on. Everybody knows that the word “Faggot” no longer means homosexual but more of a term to describe a “Wimp”…much like the word “Gay” no longer means “Happy” ….do you think that Fred and Barney were getting it on because the last line in the Flintstones theme song is…”We’ll have a gay ole time”.

          1. The argument makes EVERY sense, for those with sense enough to understand it. I happen to be gay and have used the word fag many times, and it was never in the realm of hate speach. Likewise when blacks use the word nigger. People need to get over this overly PC mentality. It is not about freedom of speach, because FOS does not mean we can say anything at any time (and surely his timing was bad); but a matter of balance. It is not WHAT you say, but HOW you say it. Obviously he was not shouting a gay slur, but referring to the boy doing something he felt was stupid. If all any gay person had to endure were a few stupid words, then that really would be progress.

  2. I agree these things have in the past gone unnoticed. Thing is…it may just be good that they are being noticed now. Not good for Sounders playoff roster choices, but good from a “rid the game of / make a social example” perspective. Sucks, but our players are TV “stars,” and need to watch what they say.

    1. I don’t think the 1st Amendment protects you at your job if you say outrageous things that can hurt your companies’ business, customer base or image. In most professions you would simply be fired. Pro sports teams tolerate a lot more bad behavior from their employees than most businesses would.

    2. The first amendment carries RESPONSIBILITIES. Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, as with libel, slander, obscenity, sedition (including, for example inciting ethnic hatred), copyright violation, revelation of information that is classified or otherwise. In short, that means we do NOT have the right to say ANYTHING we like at ANY TIME.

      I personally think people made a big deal over very little and his “punishment” is over the top (and I happen to be gay). However, there is a time and place for most things and his timing stunk, not to mention dropping the F bomb which is probably what made this seem worse than it is.

  3. My take would be, I guess…that “Freedom of Speech” is waived once you put on the uniform of a team / league that has gone on record as standing up against such language. Any ‘punishment’ would be from the Sounders / MLS, and not any law enforcement group that uses our constitution as its guide.

  4. how can they possibly persecute anyone for whats said with-in the game, people will say anything to get you off. Doesn’t mean a thing said the same about the Terry “racism” issue

  5. Colin Clark got three matches earlier this year for the exact same phrase aimed at a Seattle ball boy, during a match. As a reader on Facebook points out, that video also had audio, for final proof. This is just ‘reading lips.’

  6. Hmm, if I recall correctly when RSL was here for the last seasonal match one of the RSL players was picked up on the live mic as saying “Hey F*** You” to Osvaldo. I heard it over my TV and rewound my Tivo just to make sure I heard correctly. Salazar was right there and not a thing was done about it. I understand we added an additional slur to the end of the F-Bomb but to me these are similar issues. The referee (who was pretty close by in both incidents) did not deal with it at the time. I just hope there is some kind of reprimand to the referee as well for not addressing this on the pitch. Not that I wanted any Sounders player sent off but both incidents are part of the definition of Foul & Abusive Language.

  7. No freedom of speech issue, private league/company, not public. Burch is unlucky to let it slip and get caught, it happens, the word has been used this way for so many years and it gets the better of all of us sometimes… However, this relates to another issue I’ve been curious about. Century link= publicly owned, First and Goal Company (private) leases it from the city and hires police officers, basically makes them a public actor, but they allow no free speech activity on the grounds??! I’m confused and thinking about investigating further…

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